Sometimes, it happens. When you first graduate or when you first embark upon your career, for the more focused, you can lose yourself to your focus and never gain it back for long periods of time. Whether be it engineering, accounting, law, medicine, any other kind of discipline, you just lose yourself and days, months, years can just pass you by.
Until you hit your first insurmountable wall of complex difficulties.
until you hit your first career stride and you start to cruise.
Things get comfortable. Unlike when you first started on your career, you no longer have to ask basic questions on a daily basis. Colleagues start to look for your time to gain insights (or more cases, answers) from you.
You then notice that the days start to get longer.
You find that problems are no longer interesting and seem to follow a certain template of resolution.
You divert your attention to other things.
You have hit your Competency Plateau.
You start to realize that certain things that are important to you have fallen by the side along the way.
You see your parents older, you have missed your children's milestones, you haven't spoken to that childhood friend of yours for 10 years and you now have a beer gut with greying hair with teeth stained and discoloured from years of cigarette smoke (maybe, maybe not).
You do a review of your life and finances: your children are still growing and time cannot be fastforwarded (neither can it be clawed back), your finances hasn't grown to the point where you can just concentrate all your focus on your family life.
You have been working hard on your career your entire life. But though you are ahead of your peers, it feels as though they have enjoyed and lived a better life than you did and the difference in money didn't feel like there is a difference.
You have gotten to the point where the rocks pebbles sand in jar story is most apt for you.
So what do you do?
You go back to the schedule. And you start with the things that are important to you and you schedule them first. DAILY.
You find the things that are important to you next. And you schedule them. DAILY.
You keep scheduling them DAILY in order of priorities in the time of the day that they are supposed to be done until your day is filled.
And here's how it works:
1. You check your schedule DAILY and do the eaxct items scheduled for that time.
2. If you can't do it for some reason (frivolous example being stormy day not a good day to dry clothes), you either do the next item on that day's schedule or the adhoc item that just came up.
3. If an adhoc item comes up, decide if that is more important or not. Or if you are really good, check if it contributes to your life goals at all.
So. I have come back to the important things in my life that has fallen by the side this entire career and I'm going back to them. DAILY.
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
- Stephen Covey